Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kate Martin — Neil Gorsuch was instrumental in defending George W. Bush’s torture program

When Gorsuch took a job at the Justice Department in 2005, the department — then headed by President Bush’s former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales — was in the midst of defending radical claims of unreviewable presidential authority to act in the name of national security. Gorsuch, as Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, became deeply involved in that work. 
President Bush claimed that he could act not only without Congress, and in secret, but that he could violate the law if he decided that national security required it, and the courts had no power to review his actions. These were not academic claims, they were made in defense of outrageous abuses of individual rights carried out in the name of the “war against terror.”…

While the documents about Mr. Gorsuch’s tenure at DOJ working on this case are still incomplete, they contain no indication that he disagreed with or questioned any of these radical legal positions taken by the administration....
Think Progress
Neil Gorsuch was instrumental in defending George W. Bush’s torture program
Kate Martin | Senior Fellow at American Progress

Gorsuch appeared slightly flustered when Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California – the top Democrat on the Republican-majority committee and an influential member of the Senate Intelligence Committee – pressed him on his role advising President Bush in drafting U.S. policy on torture.

She brought up several memos and emails detailing his role helping the White House conclude that "enhanced interrogations" were legal, a memo he drafted helping top Bush aides sell that notion to the public and agreed that a controversial program allowing government surveillance on American citizens without a warrant as part of the war on terror.
Gorsuch said he didn't remember the memos and was reluctant to talk about his "loose recollection of something that happened 11 or 12 years ago." But he reminded Feinstein that he was essentially a lawyer working for a client and not a judge, and he didn't always agree with the administration's more assertive conclusions – although he wouldn't say which ones..

"There was a tug of war in the White House" on the issue, Feinstein answered, and "I want to know which side you were on."
He refused to say.

Thumbs down on confirmation.

US News
Gorsuch Questioned Early on Torture Memo
Joseph P. Williams, Staff Writer

1 comment:

Six said...

I haven't followed the hearings. Has anyone asked him if he thinks it is constitutional for the Senate to pretend it's too late in a President's term to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court?